Heading onto the clay ground? Read on
Nowadays there is a whole selection of cartridges designed specifically for clays. Some are general-purpose, some for specific disciplines like trap and skeet and some are dedicated competition cartridges for 12-bore, 20-bore, .410 and even 28-bore.
The golden rule for finding the best clayshooting cartridges is to pick the one that suits your own gun.
Which is right for you?
- Want a cartridge that will work across multiple disciplines? Try the NSI MultiTarget, Lyalvale Power Gold or the Rio 12 Gauge Target Load
- Concerned about recoil? Try the Hull Comp X or the Eley Hushpower Subsonic
- Want a biodegradable wad? Investigate the Eley VIP Steel Pro eco cartridge
Reviewing the best clayshooting cartridges
Some of these are subsonic, so suitable for use on shooting grounds where excessive noise can be a problem.
Gamebore markets an interesting range and uses colourful packaging with often memorable descriptions. How about Black Gold-Dark Storm? Names apart, the company has a good reputation. Gamebore’s clay cartridges cover 12-bore lead and steel shot and subsonic, also 20-bore and .410.
Suitable for training and competition. It is assembled in a 70mm case with an 8mm head, and there’s a choice of plastic or fibre wads. Shot sizes are 7.5 and 8. Claimed muzzle velocity is 1,420 feet per second. The cartridge is also available in 21, 24 and 28gms loadings.
EVO LOW NOISE
This is the lightest-recoiling cartridge in the range. The 28gr of No. 8 shot is loaded in a 65mm case with a fibre wad. Muzzle velocity is subsonic, so it’s suitable for slightly-built people, youngsters or on grounds where there is a noise problem. Why is it more expensive than the supersonic load? Probably due to the numbers game – the demand for subsonic cartridges is comparatively small.
Voted Clay Cartridge of the Year 2019 in the Shooting Awards. This cartridge is designed specifically for the sporting disciplines. It has a 28gr load of shot with five per cent antimony – which gives lead extra hardness. Plastic and fibre wads are available and muzzle velocity is 1,400 feet per second. Hull designed the cartridge with the help of 2014 World FITASC champion and top coach Ed Solomons.
This cartridge has also been voted Clay Cartridge of the Year in its time. It comes in 21-gram and 28-gram and is quite fast, with a muzzle velocity of 1,4235 feet per second. However recoil is gentle. Shot sizes 7.5 and 9 are available. Case length is 65mm, with plastic or fibre wads.
Offers a steel alternative when you are clayshooting. The editor of Sporting Gun reviewed it and concluded: “A new cartridge that is pushing the boundaries of ballistics.”
ELEY OLYMPIC BLUES 28GR
“Blues” are now available in 24 and 28gr loadings, with either plastic or fibre wads. Cases are 70mm and the claimed muzzle velocity is 1,400 feet per second.
This is Eley’s subsonic cartridge and the clay-shooting load of 28gr is assembled in a 67mm case. Shot size is 7.5. Eley claim the muzzle velocity is 1,050 feet per second, so it’s going to be quiet as well as very low in recoil. The Eley Hush Power subsonic cartridge tested in a sound-moderated 20-bore was impressive for its quietness; the strike of shot on the pattern plate was more audible than the report from the gun.
An entry-level cartridge from Eley available in 21, 24 and 28gram. Ideal for club shooters. A higher level of brass in the shot ensures that the Select punches above its price, even when its used at long range. By the way, 13 year old Ami Hedgecock won a car using these in The Schools Challenge competition.
More of the best clayshooting cartridges …
LYALVALE POWER GOLD
The Lyalvale Power Gold is designed for use across Skeet, Sporting or Trap Layouts and is a best-seller which is why it makes it onto our list of best clayshooting cartridges. Cartridges are available in shot size 9 for Skeet, in fibre or plastic wads. If you’re looking for a lighter load you’ll also find a 24 gram and 28 gram version. Muzzle velocity quoted at 1,425 feet per second.
RC Excellence cartridges are relatively new to the RC range. Available in 24 and 28 gram loads, shot sizes 7.5, 8 and 9.5. Plastic wads.
Looking for low recoil? The FBlus from Fiocchi is quick and keeps a tight pattern for long distance birds.
This is still a pretty hot load, but is worth trying if you find 28gr a bit too heavy on recoil. Case length is 70mm with 7.5 shot and plastic wads. Muzzle velocity is 1,450 feet per second.
The Rio 12 Gauge Target Load is available in different variants for different disciplines. The Sporting version comes in a 28 gram load with a muzzle velocity of 1280 feet per second, or a 32 gram load with muzzle velocity at 12000 feet per second. Both available in shot sizes 7.5 or 8.
Want to stick with one cartridge? The NSI MultiTarget will see you right across multiple disciplines. Available in 12-bore and 20-bore. A 28g shot load, with the 12-bore available in sizes of 7.5 to 8.5, achieving speeds of up to 1,328 feet per second.. The 20-bore also has 28g of shot and is available in sizes of 7.5 to 9.5, achieving speeds of up to 1,312 feet per second.